Birds of Zion National Park and Vicinity by Roland H. Wauer

By Roland H. Wauer

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The High Country All of the land above the pinyon-juniper woodland may be regarded as high country. This includes the "sky islands," the forested areas atop the high towers, as well as the more extensive areas in mid-elevation valleys and on the higher terraces and mesas of the plateau. Each offers a slight variation in its vegetation. Ponderosa pine dominates the warmer parts of the high country, and big sagebrush flats persist throughout. Aspen, white fir, and Douglas fir occur in the cooler canyons and niches and on the higher terraces.

A sparse woodland begins a short distance up the slope, and a heavier woodland of pinyon pines exists along the upper half of the Watchman Trail. The Mourning Dove, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Spotted Towhee are common here during spring and summer and may be found along the entire length of the trail. The little Blackchinned Hummingbird constructs a thimble-sized nest on a twig or branch; and cavity-nesters utilizing this area include the Hairy Woodpecker, Northern (red-shafted) Flicker, Ash-throated Flycatcher, and Plain Titmouse.

He and Dennis Carter discovered birds in southwestern Utah that few ornithologists knew were there. In a sense, they made us aware of the ornithological importance of the southwestern corner of our state. From 1963 to mid-1966, Ro banded almost 6,000 individual birds of 102 species. He documented hundreds of migrants, many of which were new for the state, utilizing the Virgin River Valley. And finds like nesting Common Black-Hawks, Brown-crested Flycatchers, Summer Tanagers, and Rufous-crowned Sparrows helped us better understand Utah's avian diversity and fascinating biogeography.

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